Children and young people witnessing abuse

Mums or dads who are experiencing domestic abuse don't always realise how it affects their child. They might think that because their child is in another room or doesn't see what's happening that they're not affected. But we know that living in a home where domestic abuse takes place can be really harmful for a child.

It can have a very serious impact on a child's behaviour and wellbeing, even if they're not directly harmed themselves. Children witnessing domestic abuse is recognised as 'significant harm' in law.

Domestic abuse can also be a sign that children are suffering another type of abuse or neglect.

The effects can last into adulthood. But, once they're in a safer and more stable environment, most children are able to recover from the effects of witnessing domestic abuse.

What you can do

It is very important that children living with domestic violence are kept safe. These are the safety messages parents should give their children:

  • When you are scared or sad, you don’t need to keep secrets – tell someone you trust
  • You are not to blame for what happens
  • Everyone feels angry and frustrated sometimes, but violence is never okay
  • It is okay to feel upset with Mum or Dad, but still love them
  • It is okay to feel mixed up
  • Stay out of fights
  • Go to a safe place in the house
  • Go to the neighbours or a safe place outside
  • Ring the police if you are worried
  • Help brothers and sisters to be safe.

Support services for children and young people


Telephone: 0300 561 0077

Offers support to children and young people from age 5 – 18 in the areas of Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Breckland. One to one work is offered around safety planning and wishes and feelings. Referrals are from agency only and currently working under a Family Support Plan (FSP). The helpline can be contacted for families who are not under a FSP.

Children's Centres across Norfolk


  • Advice for during pregnancy and when your baby is born, including the ‘Pathway to Parenting’ programme
  • Parenting advice and support
  • Stay and Play sessions
  • Health services
  • Help getting into adult education, training, and employment
  • Family support

Point One

Telephone: 0800 977 4077

Point 1 is a service for children and young people between the ages of 0-18 years who are experiencing the early signs of mental health difficulties and who are resident in Norfolk and have a Norfolk GP. Point 1 is a new service delivered by Ormiston Children & Families Trust, in partnership with the youth charity MAP and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The Hideout: until children and young people are safe


Women's Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it's happening to you.

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